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Minnesotans can take steps now to stay warm and save money during winter’s coldest months

Jan 06, 2022 12:26PM ● By Editor
From the Minnesota Department of Commerce - January 6, 2022

As weather in Minnesota dips to sub-zero temperatures, the Minnesota Department of Commerce encourages Minnesotans to conserve energy and improve the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses.. 

“It’s important for Minnesotans to take actions now to stay warm and safe,” said Commerce Commissioner Grace Arnold.  “Minnesotans can take simple, inexpensive steps to make their homes warmer and their energy bills more affordable.”  

Actions that homeowners and renters can take immediately to reduce energy costs are explained in Commerce’s video: 12 Energy Saving Tips.  Among the tips:

Tip #1 - Control your furnace.
  • Turn down the heat in your home a few degrees when you are away or at night when you sleep. This one step can save about 10% on your energy bills in winter. 
  • Install a “smart” thermostat in your home with a program to automatically adjust the heat. 
  • Most utility companies offer rebates to cover part of the cost for a programmable thermostat.  
Tip #2 – Add plastic film over windows. 
  • Apply a clear plastic film on the inside of windows to keep out drafts. 
  • Buy window insulation kits that include double-sided tape and plastic you cut to size. 
  • The plastic film can also extend the life of old windows. 
Tip #3 – Adjust your heat registers. 
  • If you have heat vents on the floors or walls, experiment opening and closing those vents to control where warm air comes out to get the temperature you want in every room. 
  • If lower or basement rooms are too cold, open those vents and close upper floor vents.

Another important step Minnesotans can take to have affordable energy bills is to apply for Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program. This year, Commerce raised eligibility and benefits, paying up to $3,200 to cover energy bills for income-eligible Minnesotans. The Energy Assistance Program helps people who own or rent their homes to pay for current and past-due bills for electricity, gas, oil, biofuel and propane, emergency fuel delivery, and repair/replacement of homeowners’ broken heating systems, and could also cover water and sewer bills. 

How to apply:  To request an application or find your local service provider: 

The Energy Assistance Program Dashboard published by Commerce shows over $58 million has already been paid to over 50,000 Minnesota households since October 1, 2021. The dashboard, which is updated weekly, shows county-by-county info for household average energy costs and energy assistance for Minnesotans who have already applied and qualified for benefits. 

With one application to the Energy Assistance Program, households may also qualify for water bill assistance and for the Weatherization Assistance Program, which can permanently reduce household energy costs.  The Energy Assistance and Weatherization Assistance Programs are both federally funded, with Commerce as the administrator working with local service providers across the state to serve Minnesotans.

In addition to the video “12 Energy Saving Tips,” Commerce’s animated video series explain the Weatherization Assistance Program step by step, with video series in English, Hmong, Spanish and Somali, and for visually impaired, on Commerce’s YouTube channel playlists

Get updates and news from the Minnesota Department of Commerce by following Commerce on Facebook and Twitter or by subscribing to our news email list

Watch the Energy Saving Tips video here

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